As director of chimpanzee research at the Jane Goodall Institute’s (JGI) Gombe Stream Research Center, Dr. Deus Mjungu is responsible for the management and operation of chimpanzee research at Gombe National Park.
Gombe is the historic site in western Tanzania where Dr. Jane Goodall first began her pioneering research of wild chimpanzee behavior in 1960. To build upon her revolutionary findings, including that chimpanzees make and use tools, Dr. Goodall founded the Gombe Stream Research Center in 1965. Today, the center has become a hub of scientific inquiry for JGI and visiting researchers from around the world.
Dr. Mjungu originally joined JGI in 2002 as a research assistant at the center, where he studied chimpanzee behavioral patterns relating to intercommunity conflicts. Recognizing that an even more in-depth understanding of wildlife behavior would help inform and improve wildlife management policies, Dr. Mjungu went on to earn a Master of Science in ecology, evolution, and behavior and a doctorate in intercommunity chimpanzee relations at the University of Minnesota. While earning his Ph.D., Dr. Mjungu also served as a research assistant for the university’s department of ecology, evolution, and behavior.
Dr. Mjungu is well positioned to speak about chimpanzee behavior and conservation. He has published and presented on these topics at numerous conferences and workshops, including the 2010 National Plan for Chimpanzee Conservation in western Tanzania. Recognized for his talent in the field and dedication to wildlife conservation, Dr. Mjungu has been awarded several grants and fellowships, including the Franklin Mosher Baldwin-Leakey Foundation Fellowship, Compton International Fellowship and MacArthur Interdisciplinary Program on Global Climate Change, Sustainability, and Justice Fellowship. In addition to his doctorate, Dr. Mjungu holds a Bachelor of Science in zoology and wildlife ecology and management from the University of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania.
Dr. Mjungu was born in the Tarime district in Tanzania near the famous Serengeti National Park. From a young age, he possessed a keen interest in wildlife, particularly birds. While attending high school far from his hometown, a young Deus spent most of his free time in the evening observing birds and inspecting their nests. However, it wasn’t until his final year of high school during a conversation with his biology teacher that he realized his calling—to improve the status of wildlife.